Review: Destructive King (Mafia Royals #3) by Rachel Van Dyken


Print Length: TBA
Publisher: Van Dyken Enterprises (January 12, 2021)

From  …When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
— Mary Elizabeth Fyre

"I'm sorry for your loss." I would rather be tortured for an eternity than hear those damn words from one more person, as if Claire, my dead fiancé, was a cell phone or car keys.
How about, I'm sorry your life is over.
I'm sorry you want to die too.
I'm sorry you see her in your dreams and wake up only to relive the nightmare.
I'm supposed to be the strongest of them all. Ash Abandonato, ruler, assassin, made man, brother, friend—instead, I hurt everyone I touch in hopes that they'll feel even a sliver of the pain that bears down on my shoulders.
I didn't lose.
It was taken from me.
And it's all her fault, Annie Smith.
I daydream about her death.
And then I close my eyes, and I see her soft smile. I feel her touch, her kiss—it was a mistake what we did that night, but I can't take it back, and now she's under my father's protection—my protection.
My worst enemy.
The woman I'm the most attracted to.
I can't decide if I want to strangle her or kiss her, and now that she's stuck in my life, my only goal is to make her feel the same loss I do and destroy her in the process.
I'll trick her with my touch.
Seduce her with my kiss.
And in the end, when my enemy is at her most vulnerable—I'll bring down an entire Empire and continue my reign as King.
Bow down, I'll say as I bring the Five Families to their knees.
Blood in.
Never out.


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Full disclosure, this was the book I was least looking forward to. As someone who lost their husband almost two years ago and still doesn't feel "recovered", I was sure I was going to hate this book, and hate Ash. 

And I did. Well I hated Ash anyway. He was a total jerk. He treated Annie like crap constantly pulling her close only to push her away again. There were some things that he did that had me shaking my head because even for him it seemed entirely too cruel. 

But you know what? His reactions? Were REAL. This was one of the most gut wrenchingly HONEST stories I have read about grief and loss that wasn't a "self-help" book. 

Throughout the book, there were little quotes and actions that forced you to understand not only Ash's journey in grief, but also Annie's as she tried desperately to help him recover. In the end, I ended up enjoying them together because this wasn't a case of instant-love. This wasn't a boy loses girl and quickly moves on. This was was all of the feelings. This was the guilt, the rage, the sorrow that comes in waves as you grieve. But there was also a feeling of hope in this book, the kind that comes when a character realizes that it's okay to grieve. It's ok to heal. And it's okay to feel something for someone else and still miss the person you lost. 

But of course, this is Rachel Van Dyken, and this IS the world of Eagle Elite so there were a couple of twists and turns that I did not see coming. And one that even when I saw it coming, it took a direction that I did not expect. I'd love to do what I usually do and insert spoiler alerts, but this is one of those books that has to be read for it to make sense. 

Up next is Tank and Kartini's story and I am very interested to see in what direction Rachel chooses to go with these two especially considering Kartini's history and the way their respective stories ended in this one. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                                        Destructive King  is available from

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